Monday, August 30, 2010

The 13½ Lives of Captain Blue Bear

by Walter Moers

Anyone who has read a book by Moers knows that his books are nearly impossible to describe, so I'll provide an excerpt instead. This is taken from "The Encyclopedia of Marvels, Life Forms, and Other Phenomena of Zamonia and its Environs" which is frequently quoted throughout the book:

Multidimensional Space - It is really quite easy to picture a square yard of multidimensional space - provided you have seven brains. Simply picture a train travelling through a black hole with a candle on its roof while you yourself, with a candle on your head, are standing on Mars and winding a clock precisely one yard in diameter, and while an owl, which also has a candle on its head and is travelling in the opposite direction to the train at the speed of light, is flying through a tunnel in the process of being swallowed by another black hole which likewise has a candle on its head [if you can imagine a black hole with a candle on its head, though for that you will require at least four brains]. Join up the four points at which the candles are burning, using a coloured pencil, and you'll have one square yard of multidimensional space. You will also, coincidentally, be able to tell the time on mars by the clock, even in the dark, because - of course - you've got a candle on your head.

When I first saw this book at the bookstore, I assumed it was a children's book because of the cover, so I didn't buy it. Years later I came across a review of his third book in the series: The City of Dreaming Books, and realized that his books were for adults. I read that one and really enjoyed it. Later I read the fourth book in the series: The Alchemaster's Apprentice, and enjoyed it even more. I finally got around to reading this one, which is the first in the series, and while it was as imaginative and creative as the other books, I felt like it was missing something. This book is more of a travel history of Bluebear. It's not one long adventure like the others were. Instead, it's a series of mini adventures and so I personally didn't enjoy it as much.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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